Registered nurse Barbara Tuite had hoped to work a few more years at her job at a state mental health facility, but decided to retire earlier so she could care for her husband after he suffered a traumatic brain injury in a construction accident.
In 2010, she and her husband, Joseph Tuite, moved from their home of 32 years in the village of Schoharie to a home in the town of Schoharie. The white Colonial house came with about 30 acres of land, plenty to build an addition to the white Colonial and add a swimming pool, decks and other amenities that their grandchildren and great children could enjoy during their visits.
"We put an addition on to house an elevator because my husband is disabled," Barbara Tuite, a mother of five adult children, said. "It's an old farmhouse. We put a lot of money into it to make it handicapped accessible."
Then last year, the couple began getting notices from representatives of the Constitution Pipeline company, encouraging them to allow surveyors onto the property.
Eventually, she said, they learned that the company's preferred route for the 124.4-mile natural gas transmission system would traverse their property.
In recent days, after government regulators urged the company to release construction maps for the route, the Tuites learned that the pipeline would run less than 125 feet from their house and 44 feet from their pole barn.
"We've used our yard for family weddings and church picnics," Barbara Tuite said. "We have a beautiful view of the countryside from our yard. But if this happens, the yard will be filled with construction equipment and the house will be almost surrounded by it. We feel very threatened right now."
As she reflected on the proximity of the pipe to the house, Barbara Tuite said, she broke out with the hives last weekend. "Worrying about this is what brought it on," she said.